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Review of Mötley Crüe, Final Tour 8-23-2014

Susquehanna Bank Center - 8/23/2014

Before I get too far into this, I need to point out two things.
1. The photos are used by permission. Jim Ianni owns the photos.
2. I'm not actually a fan of either band that played. But I love to see live music no matter who it is. So I can give a rather objective opinion about this whole thing.

That's all for that... In short, Alice Cooper totally stole the show. Mötley Crüe did ok, but had some serious issues.

In long...
Alice Cooper
Ok, so he's been doing the same basic show for 40 years. So what? It was still entertaining as hell! Walking into an Alice Cooper show, you have to understand that like much of the "shock rock" genre, the music itself just is a vehicle for the show. So if you're expecting intricate music with inter laid melodies, you're not going to get that. But you will get one hell of a stage show. And with the current band, you get the bonus of some really good musicians.

The first half of the show was just typical "live band performing". The second half he went all theatrical. And that was some really cool stuff to see! His band was top-notch. They had 3 guitar players, which was honestly a bit overkill. They really only needed 2. But really, they only needed 1. Her name is Nita Strauss.

I'd never heard of her before. Five minutes of research tells me that she was noticed as a member of The Iron Maidens, an all female Iron Maiden tribute band. Whatever her beginnings, she is an outstanding player! It probably cannot be over stated that women guitar players rarely get much of a notice in this kind of music. That makes her stand out all that much more. As far as I'm concerned, she was the standout performer for the entire night.
I have to give props to Cooper's drummer as well. He was also really f'n good. His sound was deep and heavy, and just spot on for the whole show. I was particularly impressed with his solo, which as we shall see, was WAY better than the guy who is actually known for his drum solos.

Alice Cooper, for his part doesn't seem to have lost much in his 66 years. His voice sounded good, and he was just as active as ever. He did pretty much every single thing you would expect him to do in his show. Every prop you've ever heard of from the live boa to the guillotine was there. My particular favorite was the Frankenstein bit. That was just cool.

I almost feel a little bad for having seen SO many shows in my life, and never seen Alice Cooper before. I guess you can't catch every damn show. But I'm glad he decided to join up for this tour. Because if he wasn't doing this tour right now, I wouldn't have seen this performance. And that would have been a shame.

Mötley Crüe
I know I already stated that they had some issues. But I'd rather not start off by slamming them. I would rather speak of the things that they got right... The one thing they've always gotten right over the years is their connection to the crowd. They have not lost that. No matter what they are doing during their performance, you really do feel like you're part of the show. When they speak to the crowd, they are amusing and personable. Nikki Sixx did a little speech of his own that went over rather well.

They pulled out their complete arsenal of pyrotechnics and fireworks. Yes, actual fireworks. Nikki Six performed a song with a flamethrower at his hip. So their effects were pretty spectacular.

They did have some major problems though. Mick Mars messed up a lot. He forgot solos (Looks That Kill went particularly badly). Then there was his main guitar solo. I don't actually remember hearing a single discernable note for the entire thing. It kind of just sounded like a wall of noisy static and feedback. I don't know what he was thinking there.

The entire band actually got lost at one point, and was so confused, I'm not even sure they knew which song they were playing. They basically thudded along until Lee pulled it back together with a sort of "follow me guys, I've got this", that allowed them to get back on track without blowing it completely. Their sound was also inconsistent. One song sounded great, the next sounded thin and tinny. You could tell by the crowd's reaction that this was very obvious.

Then there was Tommy Lee's drum solo. Anyone who's ever seen Crüe live, expects this to be the highlight of the show. He has gone out of his way to design some of the most insane rigs to flip and spin him all over the place, all while doing a crazy solo. Not this time. Sure, he had a pretty cool rig, and all.

But his solo was just simple, slow, 4x4 beats, with no variety, speed, excitement, imagination, enthusiasm, or anything else normally associated with his solos.
All of this was mixed with miscellaneous samples to fill in the empty spaces. What made matters worse is that for all the simplicity of the solo, he still messed up. He lost tempo twice that I noticed. Part of the trick of doing all the tricks, is that he can still play and keep perfect time while doing them. Not this time. Perhaps he was tired? I don't know. But that was a disappointment.

I walked away from the show feeling like they just tried too hard to put on a REALLY BIG show, but just weren't in the best shape to actually do it. If I had to classify, in a word, how I thought they looked, despite all their efforts, I would use the word "tired".

This is their Final Tour. Until the next time, I guess. I think many of their fans would have like to have seen them go out with a better bang.

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